The post has been filled at the Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Protection District (SCFPD) for Fire Chief by Rick Weigele, who was sworn in at a fire board meeting on Thursday, June 8 by Board President Susan Zanker.
The Fire Chief position became vacant after Matt Daly submitted his resignation that was accepted by the Board on March 20 this year. Daly had filled the position in August last year but after just eight months on the job he resigned due to family matters.
At the June 8 meeting, Zanker introduced Weigele to the community and gave a brief summary of his experience and background.
Originally from San Diego, Weigele has over 26 years of fire service experience and has held virtually every position in the fire service. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Fire Service Management and worked for eight years in Emergency Management. Not only was Weigele the strike team leader for the Columbia Space Shuttle disaster but also for the California fire storms and the Rodeo/Chedisky Fire.
After moving to Hawaii to surf he met his wife Miriam and they have three children Chris, Robbie and Elizabeth along with three grandchildren.
Weigele began his fire career in Orange County as a reserve fire fighter. He then moved to Prescott, Arizona where he worked with Central Arizona Fire and Medical Department as a Captain and paramedic. He managed the county-wide Hazardous Materials Team and taught chemistry and hazmat at the local college.
Responsible for integrating Sun Lakes Fire District into the Phoenix Fire Automatic Aid Consortium and dispatch, Weigele was promoted to Deputy Chief.
He then moved to the Gilbert Fire Department where he served as Battalion Chief and Division Chief and was responsible for training, dispatch, deployment and special operations. He has also served as an adjunct instructor for Texas A&M University teaching at the Center for Domestic Preparedness in Anniston, Alabama.
Weigele retired from Gilbert Fire but continued working as a consultant in Emergency Preparedness and Emergency Management.
“He re-entered fire service in Anderson, California which is near Redding until he recently joined us just about two weeks ago,” said Zanker. “I do welcome you and the entire board, the community, all of the staff, we welcome you warmly tonight.”
After the introduction Weigele was sworn-in and his son Robbie, who is also in the fire service, pinned his badge on him and the father-son firefighters shared an embrace.
“I come out of a system that was very progressive with sharing resources and dropping boundaries so that interests me,” Weigele stated on taking the position with SCFPD in Riverbank. “Also just the size of the department and some of the things that they have going on here, it is exciting to be a part of this consolidation effort that is going on.”
A brief reception was hosted following the oath of office ceremony, where guests were treated to cake and a few refreshments.
“There is a lot of excitement that is part of our job to address all of the hazards throughout the year whether it be the water rescues, flooding, wild land fire season,” said Weigele. “This is a department that is very prepared, very skilled, very good at what they do so I don’t really have too many worries or concerns there because we’ve got such a good group of people.”